necessary whispers

observe. connect. make new.


February 2016

Love, Death And Resuscitation




Canton died on Monday

And then again on Friday

And in between

A thousand other deaths

All in a row—

His breathing shallow,

His passion stretched wide

Like a well dug for water supply

Now a brimming



Canton’s misery has a name—

A she as you may have guessed

With brownish hair and

Bluish eyes

Anchored to her soul,

Her voice sounds

Like frogs chanting

In the night,

A melody Canton



Her name is Sienna

Like the color artist’s mix

When simple red

Promises nothing of


In its parts—

But complexity

Is the only way

To convey the



She walked into his life—

No, she swam instead

Like a pirate

Fallen out of a ship

Whose pockets were filled,

Whose lungs nearing empty

Needed Canton’s

Breath to make it

To the shore with no



Canton wrapped his arms

Around her belted waist

He pulled her body

Wet with salted


To a warm and sunny

Place where

Resuscitating Sienna

Became his starring



He breathed his life

Into her lungs,

Sienna’s breast inflated

Like a blowfish

Reacting to her fear

Desperately wanting

His protection—

No, that’s not right—

His affection wrapped up in his



Canton died when Sienna


The world collapsed

With her unconsciousness

As though slumber

Was a distance too far to


Not even the moon

Could console his emptied



He died when she blinked,

He could not withstand the dark

Her eyelids commanded—

Like a conductor

Setting the rhythm of

His pain and

One and two and three and


The music behind her open eyes, Canton’s



Canton and Sienna

Clasped their fingers together

Like two pirates searching for love

Crossing a windy expanse—

They cried and laughed

And died and lived

Along the way

Two shipwrecked halves navigating

Toward one mysterious



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


A Poem: The Moonlight’s Reach


(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller‘s brush drawing, Untitled (b/w-study 20, 2012).


It was not what she said

But what she


Not say

That stabbed me in the


And bled me dry

I felt like I would climb

But instead I

Died in her silence.


The truancy of heart

With which she


In all directions

South when I was North

In due time

As the Winter turned

To Spring

Burned me

In my solitude.


The way she melted

Under the sun

Made my skin


Down like creeping wax

From a candle already

Shortened with use

In moments captured

By the sun but lived

In the light of the moon.


She was and is elusive

In the gifts she gives and


With fortitude of Queens and

Warriors on the field

Of war and

In the tents

Shrouded in white


Draped to conceal

But not to protect.


It was not what she held

But what she dropped and


At her feet in shards

Cutting further

Than she wanted to go

Longer than she wanted to


Costing more than she

Wanted to pay.


I faced the moon

Grateful for his constancy


Inside his transparency

Like a fish swimming

Amidst the bubbles in the deep

Where no one understands

And understood only


That she was beyond

The moonlight’s reach.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Standing In Water, Alone


(Photo Credit: Gregory Crewdson)


Wet air licking my pores

Pulling sweat from beneath

Skin pierced with mosquitoes

And leftover sun,

Drenched with summer.


Another half-love come and gone

With the changing of the seasons

And the changing of the mind

With swiftness and a self-aggrandizing

Bowing of the head—a whole goodbye.


A promise made, a promise left

In the midst of the doldrums

Creeping past my open window

The screen of which catches

All the flies but not the leeches.


Water rising as high as the rain

With a voice like wind through trees

Pulling weight from one side, or

Maybe pushing me away

With the flow of my mind.


Nothing is too bad or

All is not as good as the rhythm

I had known before this . . .

This . . . current swept newly

Through and past my soul—what I miss is old.


I say my soul but it was really my heart

And the fullness of its breadth

Floated through my mind,

A buoy of strength and weakness and

Resignation to me, made new.


Newly resigned and to my past

Declined like a Dowager

Sitting on a perch inside a house

Meant for one,

No longer for two.


If only he

Could pass through my knees

Like water flowing from and to

Pressing my skin with life

And with movement

Now one, remembering two.


I guess I will stand here

Patient but not patient

Waiting because waiting is all there is

For him to turn the wheel

To decide a decision for he and for I.


Nature wraps itself around

My heart that aches and slips

Right through

To the bottom of the breath I hold

Until he returns, changing old to new.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Unintended Garden


(Photo credit: Gregory Crewdson)


The trash he threw away

Outside his walls—

Inside his walls was not

The place—


To the rubber

Of his sole

Like glue,

Like seeds

He planted it all

In the fiber

Of the carpeting

She vacuumed

And it grew.


He tried to hide the


But rottenness peels away

From the skin and


To the air

First to vibrations

Then to currents

And finally

To lips

To Teeth and

To hair.


The seeds divided—

As seeds often do—

They burrowed

Sprouted and

Grew something


First one

And then a few

Until a garden of


Wreaking with intention

And budding in the

Soil of hidden



With the old

What used to be



He dug a hole

Sweating beads of regret

To open the


Like a coffin

Like a womb

Wanting to bury

And wanting to exhume

Neither up nor


Felt like escape

So he sat on the


And smoked cigarettes

That stuck

To the sides

Of his guilt

Like tape.


First one puff

And then another

Until the pile grew

And back to work

He faced

The hole

Like a coal miner

Climbing from above

And falling through

To the core

To the roots

To the bastion

Of the yes’s and

The no’s

He thrust

Into the landfill,

Bandied away—

They recycled themselves

And pushed from

Beneath and

Littered the


Like maggots wriggling

Toward their



The seeds grew

Around him

The weeds pointed

And laughed—

While the mud and

The worms

And the guts

Writhing on his behalf

Circled like a

Witch’s brew

Bubbling and

Filling his conscious

With steam

Whose anxiety


Into view

With a sputter of blood

And a splash

Of sludge

Tilting his world



As the sun began to rise

And rays of


Bled through

He knew his task was


His chances few—

He heard her


Pad through the kitchen

And smelled the

Grinding of beans

And he wanted to


The mundane—

The coffee

The sugar

The cream—

But he knew

It would never

Be the same.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

The Day She Said No More


A chill

A tremor

A glance toward the floor

A slicing through the air

With words

Sharp and


Atmosphere gluttonous

And fat

With globules of

All the hate he had eaten


Now digested and

Fueling the



He vomits lies

One and then

One more


And then one more—

And wipes it off the floor

To fashion

With his hands

The garments

He flings

Toward her,

“Put this on,”

As though she were

His mannequin.


She bends her knee

To his lies

And slathers

What dripped

From his mouth

Onto her face—

Masking what is true

And wearing

What he has construed,

She misconstrues

What is false

For what must be

And in his eyes

She sees

His power



Shrinking hues of

Human blue

Shrivel into black—

He lowers his head

Like a dog

Unleashed and standing


His prey


She thinks but

Does not say


She braces,

Her heart races

As she maps his face

For traces

Of who she assumed

Him to be.


The sound of a

Rapier and dagger

A shot fired

The kicking away of the stand

Under a noose

Two Broadswords clash

In the night

A fight

With no enemy

But brutal in its


To the sanctity of

Two lives becoming one



She opens her mouth

To let the fear

Fall out—

It repels down her


Jumps off her chin and

Runs into the


Where it found safety



She watches it run

And dreams of being


So she too could

Skitter away

Like a fearful mouse

Hiding in this home,



This house.


Purple begins to sprawl

Across her face and

Down her arm—

Once more her


His canvas

Drying in colors

Darker than

He intended

And that—

What he intended—

Is unclear as the fog

Of war

Flies around his head

Like a flock of

Birds flapping in formation

And leaving the cold

For the



He lowers his hand

A gesture

A gift

An invitation

From his guilt to

Her confusion—

She accepts as she

Has accepted


And stands.



A chill

A tremor

A look to the floor—


“It began with a lie,”

She thinks

But does not say and

She wonders why

The dusty lenses in his frames

Project her in this way—

And why so many times


She wore the vomit-sewn

Coat shaking at her feet

Like a prisoner of



“No more,”

she thinks and then

she says—

A sentence that


Like an arrow through

His armor of


“You want to roar

You want me to squeak,

You want to be called Control

You want my name to be Weak.”

Then one more string of words,

“No more.”


A tremor

A doubt

A glimmer of


Reflected off the moon to

Light her way

To blind his eyes

From seeing her

Walk away—

Into the night

She limped

Like a rabbit

Whose foot had been

Cut off and given

To him for luck


She walked

And the walking

Was building her strength.


She was tempted to

Look back

To see her


But instead her


Drove forward—

She thought to herself

But did not say,

“No more before,

Only today.”


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo Credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Conny Stark)




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